The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'Rev Jules'

24

If there was one defining theme of 2007 in Irish surf culture it was Ireland's emergence as a big wave location of international importance. The pages of the Irish Times and the Irish Independent were frequently filled with shots, usually by the brilliant Mickey Smith, of surfers from here and abroad riding giant waves in Clare and Donegal. Amazing shots that previously had been limited to adverts for Old Spice and Guiness, both of which were shot in Hawaii, were now being taken routinely in Ireland, in terms of the culture, its as big as U2's covershot for TIME Magazine. And, unlike in previous decades, this quantum leap was chronicled by young Irish filmmakers such as Joel Conroy, Naomi Britton, Gavin Gallagher and Ken O'Sullivan in a series of films which displaced imported fare in favour of homegrown big wave action.


More ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Blogs, Sound Waves
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
24

This is a parody of the Beach Boys on the subject of, eh, Christmas in Baghdad. Happy Christmas y'all.

This is a less cynical view of the festive season by Jon Peter Wilson, or at least 48 seconds of his less cynical view.

Santa catches some waves, dude

And finally, U2 with "It's Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"

 

 


More ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Blogs, Sound Waves
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
20

The Telegraph, on 14/11/2007, published an article about the surfer and physicist Garrett Lisi which stated that he had come up with a theory for everything and that this theory is being taken very seriously by the science community. Lisi describes surfing and snowboarding as being about bending gravity. I am not going to even attempt to describe his theory but if you want to check him out you can click on one of the hyperlinks of his name above or the Telegraph article.


More ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Blogs, Sound Waves
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
14

Firstly, the albums in question were all listened to on surf trips around the Irish coast this year and were drawn from a shortlist of albums with a copyright of either 2006 or 2007, as albums recorded in 2006 may have, on occasions, only been released in 2007.

Secondly, consideration was duly given to how ‘new’, as in original, sounding the music was.

Thirdly, consideration was also duly given to how much of the album could be listened to without the desire to skip tracks. As a general rule of thumb, if the album contained less than three tracks that Sound Waves wanted to listen to repeatedly and then transfer to the official Sound Waves ‘albums of the year’ test site for further consideration, or as I like to call it, the MP3 player I got free when I ordered some printer cartridges, then it didn’t make the cut.

Fourthly, the albums are arranged in order of preference from one to seven: 

  1. Modest Mouse 'We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank'
  2. Regina Spektor 'Begin to Hope'
  3. Laura Viers 'Saltbreakers'
  4. Maximo Park 'Our Earthly Pleasures'
  5. Newtown Faulkner 'Hand Built by Robots'
  6. Xavier Rudd 'Food in the Belly'
  7. Prince 'Planet Earth'

There are two notable exceptions to this list which I would like to comment on. Firstly, there is no ‘Neon Bible – Arcade Fire’. This is because I am increasingly coming to belief that they are to the Irish music fans of today what Chris Rea and David Gray were to Irish music fans of previous decades. The band smacks to me of having a charisma deficit and have tried to counteract this by turning into a kind of secular, revivalist prayer group. I obviously haven’t seen the light it appears.

Secondly, there is no ‘Magic – Bruce Springsteen’. Partly this is because I have only got the album in the last week and it is probably too soon to judge its merits. However I do find that the sheer “Hey guys, I just plugged my Fender into a bolt of lightening’ rock ‘n’ roll power of ‘Radio Nowhere’ is unmatched anywhere else on the album. As a fan of live Bruce favourites such as ’Ramrod’ and ‘Light of Day’, to which ‘Radio Nowhere’ is a noble successor, I would have hoped that ‘Magic’ as whole would be a bit more up tempo. Although, as I say, its probably too soon to judge.

One final thought on a different subject. 2007 will also be remembered by me as the year that music journalism finally stopped being about music and became focused on technology, law and finance instead.

Three stories defined this trend:

  1. The rise of the 360 contract
  2. The download issues surrounding ‘in rainbows’ by Radiohead
  3. The fiasco that was the Barbara Streisand concert in Castletown

I think it is a dispiriting and negative trend that cheapens the art and practice of music thus suggesting that music, by itself, is not that important to begin with and so is not worthy of serious discussion. It didn’t help that a substantial amount of the coverage given over to the above stories was written by people who were not themselves expert in the areas of finance, technology or law. A particular case in point was the many articles devoted to Prince’s decision to release ‘Planet Earth’ free with The Daily Mail, the coverage of which dwarfed that which was given over to the discussion of the music contained within that same album. And with postings on DRM, Starbucks and short term record contracts, Sound Waves was not immune to this sad trend either, going so far as to state that, "As far as I am concerned, the single most important thing that happened this year in music was MCD being taken to task by the National Consumer Agency over the farce that was the Barbara Streisand Concert" although my underlying reasoning was that if the music business started to focus on customer satisfaction we might see a greater focus put back on signing and releasing new acts.

What can I say, I am to blame as much as anyone although a substantial amount of this blog in 2007 was devoted to music, surfing and, eh, George W Bush's love of mountain biking.

My response was to buy the reissue of Barney Hoskyns’ “Say it One Time For The Broken-hearted; Country Soul in the American South”, a truly beautiful and learned book about music whose heartfelt goal was, “to bring some of those records into your world”. I doubt that the same could be said of much else I read this year in the music press.


More ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Blogs, Sound Waves
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
06

So I thought, what a minute, why don't I just stick my albums of the year up on the blog when I do them? So that is what I am going to do. Once I get a minute to myself in the next couple of weeks.Oh, an another thing they will be in order of merit. The basic criteria will be that they were released in the last year and I have played them in the car on surf trips, other than that, eh, they are music.


More ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Blogs, Sound Waves
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
01

Phoebe, the fictional chantuese from hit sitcom 'Friends', famously performed her unique brand of music in the plush environment of the Manhattan coffee house 'Central Perk'. Now it appears that she may have been ahead of the curve as Starbucks announce that through their new record label, Hear Music, they will be releasing the debut album of 21 year old singer-songwriter Hilary McRae. According to Variety.com, "Hilary has a great soulful sound and we are excited to play a significant role in the launch of what will be a long and successful career," Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment, said Tuesday in a statement. "Hear Music has a strong belief in fostering the talent of quality musicians and we believe we've found a gem in this artist."

How long before Irish based coffee retailers such as Insomnia and West Coast Coffee follow suit ? It's a pity that Bewleys didn't last to see this development. It would have been great to see a version of David Bowie's 'The Bewley Brothers' released under the Bewleys name.

 


More ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Blogs, Sound Waves
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
17

Variety reported on 16/10/2007 that Apple in the United States was cutting the price of songs it sold via i-tunes that did not have copy protection software (DRM) from $1.29 to $0.99 per song. Although Apple said this was not in response to Amazon's entry into the market in September 2007 with an offering where songs without DRM sell for $0.89 to $0.99 it does appear to the casual observer that the consumer is regaining some of their traditional fair use rights in relation to copyright material as a result of Amazon's entry and this is more significant than the just announced price drop which puts songs without DRM at the same price as those with DRM.


More ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Blogs, Sound Waves
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
09

If there is one story that Cluas.com has been on top of it's the news that Radiohead intend to launch their new album direct to the internet. So it was with great interest that Sound Waves read an article by Gordon Masson in Variety that EMI's new boss Guy Hands has circulated a memo to staff stating that the Radiohead launch was a 'wake-up call' and that, "Rather than embracing digitalization and the opportunities it brings for promotion of product and distribution through multiple channels, the industry has stuck its head in the sand."

One thing is for sure, in the wake of the 360 contract, labels are going to watch this launch very carefully to see if it can make an artist more money going independent than the old faithful method of signing away your life, and in the case of 360 contracts, pretty much everything else to a record label who may then dump you if you don't deliver from dollar one. If Radiohead fail then chances are future contracts will be even more weighted in the labels' favour, if they succeed, well, who needs a contract to start with?

 


More ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Blogs, Sound Waves
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
07

A number of years ago I met a prominent member of a then up and coming Irish band at a social engagement and had an interesting, if brief discussion with him about the then state of the industry he found himself in. Or, to put it more bluntly, as I drank my beer at a media launch I listened to this guy moan about how his manager, his booking agent, his record company, his PR agent, the radio stations, the other members of the band and a whole host of industry figures were trying to boss him around, tell him what to do and how to do it. Before he paused to take a swig of his beer, which is a man’s way of signalling for someone else to start talking, he asked me what I thought, and without giving it much consideration I said, “Hmm, I see where you are coming from but it seems to me that your ultimate boss is a teenage girl with twenty quid in the pocket of her jeans”. At this, said rocker turned pale, nodded to himself a bit and then went in search of another beer. When said rocker and his band were subsequently dropped from their label and broke up after taking their music into an ill-advised trip into the foothills of intellectualism, following a healthy period of plugging their songs on the kind of shows that were popular with that generation of teenage girls I formulated this off the cuff opinion of mine into the “Twenty Quid Chick Rule” and gave as its most perfect, successful operational example the single ‘Don’t Stand So Close To Me’ by the Police.

It's amazing how many bands lionise The Beatles and talk about wanting to make an album to rival ‘Sgt. Peppers’ and how few of them pick up on what you mean when you say, “Ah yes, but first you have to learn how to get hordes of screaming girls to faint at your concerts”. It’s also a funny little coincidence that the music industry is usually in rude health when there are a fair few bands out there making the girls in the audience pass out and hit the deck mid song. And yet, when there is a slump, industry heads seem to ignore all that screaming oestrogen and blame their woes on a variety of issues but most commonly on technology like home taping or as it is now known, MP3 file sharing. In an article on the future of the music industry by Stephen J Dubner which was published on his NYT blog, the following (extracts of the) expert views were given, mostly focusing on those pesky little MP3 files which flit around the internet like bats in Castle Dracula:

 “There is surprisingly little evidence to support the claim that file sharing has significantly hurt record sales”. Koleman Strumpf, professor of business economics at the University of Kansas Business School.

“My epiphany, if you want to call it that, was simply this: consumers of recorded music will always embrace the format that provides the greatest convenience.” Frederic Dannen, author of ‘Hitmen’.

“The decline in record sales over the past year was entirely predictable. The technology that has wreaked havoc on the industry was developed 8 or 9 years ago, and, while certain features of it have improved, the individual elements that comprise it — an institutionalized standard for non-protected music files like MP3s, music search and swapping protocols, and rip/burn hardware — are not new”. Steve Gottlieb, president of TVT Records

“The short answer is that the Internet happened” Peter Rojas, founder of Engadget and co-founder of RCRD LBL, a free, online-only music label launched by Downtown Records.

Of these experts only one attempted to suggest that it was the consumer, not technology who had caused the prima faciae change in the fortunes of the music industry and he wasn’t an economist or a music label boss, he was a music maker.

Without stating the obvious, the future is really in the hands of the consumer…while we’re still in agreement as a society that people want music, I’d say music is not as important now as it once was. Instant gratification has removed some of the demand. Music feels like it has become more disposable and cheap, with less staying power. As a result, it becomes a lot harder to commit to newer acts knowing they may not be around a year from now.” George Drakoulias, music producer

The consumer, that much put upon figure in the music business mix, the person who is expected to buy albums with one decent track on them, overpriced identikit merchandise and tickets to concerts where they are treated little better than barnyard animals by the promoter has awoken it seems and said, “Nope, I am not going to fund some coked up pop stars alimony payments anymore without so much as a word of thanks, respect or recognition. If they want me to buy their next release or go watch them on tour they are going to have to work as hard at making the music they are playing as I do to earn the money to pay for that music. Oh, and by the way, suing me for downloading a couple of tracks, that’s not on either.”

Eoghan O’Neill’s learned article on what is likely to happen when Radiohead launch their new download-only album on October 10th spent a great deal of space examining and explaining the technological aspects of the imminent launch but, at its heart, it made the point that everything had better go without a blip on the day of release otherwise there will be a lot of disgruntled consumers out there and this would not be good for Radiohead.

As far as I am concerned, the single most important thing that happened this year in music was MCD being taken to task by the National Consumer Agency over the farce that was the Barbara Streisand Concert, just a year after MCD were on the legal warpath against bloggers who had dared to suggest on internet discussion boards that Oxegen 2006 had not exactly been a glowing success from the consumer’s point of view. It was a clear sign that the teenage girl with twenty quid in her pocket had matured, she may now be married with kids and probably has a lot more in her purse than she used to, but her primacy in the business of music is, if anything, more high profile than ever these days and music industry types ignore her at their peril.


More ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Blogs, Sound Waves
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
04

Phantom FMFor the last few months, I have eschewed my eclectic dial twiddling to concentrate on listening to the output of Phantom FM on the basis that, I am in the market for new music, by which I mean music that sounds new and has not just been released lately. On my MP3 player at present sits, to give a few examples, music by Emma Kirkby, Regina Spektor, Alison Krauss, John Tavener, Miles Davis, AC/DC, Modest Mouse, Clive Barnes, Nursat Fateh Ali Kahn, Jan Garbarek, Joan Osbourne, John Spillane, Brad Mehldau, Prince, Ray LaMontagne, Solomon Burke, Metallica and Laura Veirs. A pretty wide range of music I would think, much of it recent, and all of it individualistic. My taste has always moved between genres; in the same year that I bought albums by Steve Earle and The Police, I also bought records by Ted Hawkins, Tom Waits and Tommy Makem & The Clancy Brothers. Much of the above is not often heard, if at all, on Irish commercial radio stations.

So, you would think that I would be the ideal target audience for Phantom FM. Well, think again because I have found the choice of music I have listened to on Phantom FM to be monochromatic and, well, rather samey. A bit like eating nothing else but chicken curry for two months. Far from offering choice and new music, the station is offering up a diet of shows where the playlists are interchangeable. Ok, its only been on air a few months I know but its still hard to talk about single show having a unique personality and I certainly could not imagine the station ever offering a home to individualistic broadcasters such as John Kelly, Andy Kershaw or the great BP 'The Beep' Fallon.

However, the format of Phantom is very familiar and after a while I twigged why. Phantom FM is essentially a single genre US style radio station in disguise. Far from offering a wider choice of new music, if thats what you want to call Artic Monkeys, it is actually offering a narrower choice. I always felt that 'indie kids' had a very narrow and not very exciting taste in music. Now, I have the proof. Think I'll stick to roaming the dial for another while. 


More ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Blogs, Sound Waves
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
Page 7 of 17First   Previous   2  3  4  5  6  [7]  8  9  10  11  Next   Last   

Search Articles

Nuggets from our archive

2005Michael Jackson: demon or demonised? Or both?, written by Aidan Curran. Four years on this is still a great read, especially in the light of his recent death. Indeed the day after Michael Jackson died the CLUAS website saw an immediate surge of traffic as thousands visited CLUAS.com to read this very article.